Tag: Video Games

A data journalist’s wet dream

A data journalist’s wet dream

I’ll be honest, I absolutely wrote this blog post almost exclusively to use that pun in the title.

That’s where I peak for the day. Good night, folks.

Unfortunately I can’t just leave things there. Anyone reading this in the distant future without the context of my social media stinger would be lost.

If you are reading this way after I’m writing it, hello! My name is Jason. This is my blog. I’m here to talk about porn today.

I swear that’s not an everyday occurrence.

I wouldn’t typically bring up the subject at all unless I had a good reason to. It just so happens that this tweet sent me down a rabbit hole this morning.

Apparently Pornhub does a yearly visualization of site analytics, and the fact that I wasn’t aware of it before is a travesty. I’ve gotten very into that sort of thing recently, so alongside psychological implications of “what the world gets off on,” you’ve got something right up my alley.

I suppose 2018 is a good a time as any to find out about it, because hoo boy is there a ton of interesting stuff.

Obviously this whole subject is a bit NSFW, but I’m more interested in it from a data analysis side. However, if you’re squeamish about the topic I’ll understand if you don’t want to read on.

That said, here are some of my favorite Pornhub Insights from 2018.

… Definitely not a sentence I ever thought I would be writing.

The data that starts off the review is fascinating just from the sheer scale.

Apparently there were 92 million daily visits to the site on average, and about 115 years worth of video were uploaded this year. I know porn is a popular thing, and typically an early adopter of every form of mass media thanks to my Comm classes…

But 115 years of video just this year alone?

I’m not sure how to comprehend that much porn. Especially considering Pornhub is just one of countless porn websites.

When presented with that myriad of information, my first inclination is to ask how it filtered down. Luckily, Pornhub has a number of well-done infographics breaking things into manageable chunks. For instance:

1-pornhub-insights-2018-year-in-review-searches-that-defined-the-year

There’s a lot to say about these defining searches.

Stormy Daniels stands out in how hilarious it is that a serious presidential scandal skyrocketed this woman from being the 671 most popular pornstar in 2017 to being the most popular search result in 2018.

Fortnite, as much as I don’t particularly enjoy it, makes sense as a high result considering how popular the game is. Though in that same vein, Bowsette skyrocketing into the top ten based on that week or two she was a popular concept is astounding.

Later on they break down the highest video game-related searches, and it’s not too surprising.

5-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-most-searched-game-characters

The best thing about this list is Mario being the highest male result. Shout out to that portly plumber for representing male characters.

With that said, I find the worldwide search analyses more interesting than the media-specific stuff. The fact that categories like “4K,” “Trans” and “Tinder” were among top search results says a lot about the era we live in.

It also says a lot about porn watchers that “Lesbian,” “Hentai,” “Milf,” “Step mom” and “Japanese” were the top five most searched terms this year. Especially given that the United States produced the most Pornhub traffic by more than three times its runner-up, the United Kingdom.

Easily the most interesting graphic produced in this set shows which parts of the world searched for what kinds of porn most.

maps-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-most-viewed-categories

Just look at that sharp divide between “Lesbian” porn in the Americas, “Hentai” in Asia/Russia and “Ebony” porn in Africa. The strong leanings in these parts of the world is simply fascinating to me.

Shout out to Pakistan for being about the sole representative of “Big Dick” porn too. Much respect.

The other segment that really intrigued me was the technology insights. For instance, the clear leaning toward Windows/Android devices:

4-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-operating-system

Or the fact that about 0.7 percent of Pornhub users are searching from their 3DS systems:

4-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-console-traffic

Like who is doing that?! Who is using that janky 3DS web browser to search for porn?

I’d like to meet and interview those people.

There’s so many more things to draw out of these data sets, from the gendered search results to the periods when traffic to the site fell (including the day Big Bang Theory season 11 premiered) and which days/times are the most popular for porn watching.

But the more I talk about here, the more I’ll feel like I’m just stealing things. So instead I’ll point out the link once again and encourage you all to check out the information for yourself.

It’s a hell of a rabbit hole to dive down, and after getting lost in it this morning I’d highly recommend it.

Book III opens, death comes out

Book III opens, death comes out

It figures that a week before finals we get not only the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but also a huge update to Fire Emblem Heroes.

All of this excitement definitely is not helping me stay ready for exams.

But we’re not here for school-related stuff today. No, this is a two-part blog post about the big introduction to Book III! Yesterday I talked about the Feh Channel that Nintendo put out, that way today I could devote all of my time to the beginning of the story.

So knowing this is going to be long enough as is, let’s get into it shall we?

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Chapter 1

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Chapter 1 begins in an… Unexpected place.

Some time has passed since the end of Book II, though the actual period isn’t specified. Our first scene has the Queen of Askr, Alfonse and Sharena’s mother, arriving at the Order of Heroes’ castle with a mission at hand:

After Henriette becomes acquainted with you, the team heads back to Askr proper.

On the way there are aggressive soldiers from the rival nation of Embla — not seen since Book I. The siblings find this strange given how far they are from the nation’s border, but their mother explains what is happening.

Interestingly enough, despite the fact that these enemy units are supposed to be Emblian units previously encountered, there are a whole host of new unit types on the enemy side. Colored bow users, colored dagger users and flying manaketes among them.

Soon enough the Order starts to come across the two generals of Hel’s army:

Upon seeing the two figures on the battlefield, Alfonse and Sharena immediately recognize them. It turns out both figures are intrinsically linked to the characters in an interesting way.

They are the ancestors of the royal siblings and Princess Veronica respectively.

How the characters will deal with their ancestors should be an interesting development throughout the story.

When the Order finally approaches Askr castle they’re intercepted at the gate by Eir, princess of the dead. Once she’s defeated she submits to death by the hand of Alfonse (because I guess the princess of the dead wasn’t dead? Go figure that one out), but he spares her. Instead they take the girl as a prisoner and eventually a wary ally because she supposedly ran away from home and would not be allowed to return.

I say supposedly because… Well… Intelligent Systems blew their load on the surprise before Eir even arrived.

You couldn’t have kept this as a reveal for the future instead of telling us right off the bat?

Ah well. Her character description says she doesn’t quite enjoy her mother’s assault on the living, so at least the character transitioning into a true ally is still available.

But until then we have her as a “tentative” ally.

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I get the feeling most people are going to latch onto the princess fast. Because boy is she packing heat with that base kit of hers.


EirMerciful Death

Skill Set:

  • Lyfjaberg (Might = 14, Range = 2)
    • Grants Resistance +3. At the start of combat, if unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat, and if unit initiates combat, foe cannot make a follow-up attack. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions. If bonus was granted to unit, deals 4 damage to unit.
  • Iceberg (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Resistance.
  • Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Mystic Boost (B Skill)
    • Disables foe’s skills that “calculate damage using the lower of foe’s Defense or Resistance” and “calculate damage from staff like other weapons.” Restores 6 Health after combat.
  • Sparkling Boost (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, restores 10 Health to ally that has been dealt the most damage (excluding this unit).

Analysis:

Eir is just good. Her weapon and A Skill give her a ton of Attack and Speed at the cost of a little health each turn, but her B Skill just restores that health while nullifying a ton of different abilities that might give her enemies an edge.

Add onto that the high resistance attack buff of Iceberg and general ally healing and… Yeah, she’s solid.

A hell of a unit to have given us for free.


Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 begins in the grand halls of Askr castle… Of which we see one background panel.

Alfonse and his father, Gustav, vaguely dance around the reason why Alfonse had said he wasn’t allowed back home before just jumping into the meat of story-relevant exposition.

Apparently there’s a single entrance to Hel that had been sealed for over 20 years by the king’s best defenses. However something happened to the gateway that allowed denizens of the dead to emerge once more.

Right away there’s some weird business going on with Gustav being very harsh toward Alfonse while subsequently ignoring Sharena… But later we also get some dialogue with the queen that suggests he’s that archetype of a grizzled old father who wants his son to avoid the same mistakes he made.

But I’ll get to that.

First we have to discuss the shoehorned in appearance of Veronica after battle two.

There’s more vague alluding to the time skip at this point when Loki shows up out of nowhere to ask Veronica for some kind of cooperation in fighting the soldiers of Hel. They also reference Veronica’s brother Bruno, who had deus ex machina’d his way into the end of Book II but is now off on some secret mission again.

Despite Veronica’s hesitation, Loki suggests a partnership between the two nations because dead people just want to kill all living people.

We don’t have a solid idea of Hel’s motivation yet so let’s go with that for now.

My only wish is that we also get a connection to the Nifl/Múspell conflict here instead of just sticking with the Askr/Embla stuff. At the end of Book II Fjorm did join the Order permanently knowing she was dying from the after effects of the Rite of Frost.

Did she die? Or will she and Hríd and everyone be able to help fight the dead?

So far the only reference we’ve gotten to Book II comes at the end of the fifth battle. It centers around the Order of Heroes arriving at the gateway to Hel and seeing thousands of soldiers pouring out to attack a nearby village. They distract the forces long enough for Askr’s full army to arrive and rout the enemy, at which point Gustav scolds his son.

They do bring the moment around into a pretty nice message about what it means to be a king, showing that the harshness is less about being a calloused father and more about trying to groom a proper heir:

But it still seems like a stretch to toss out the entirety of Book II’s scope and consequences by saying it didn’t make everyone in the Order a hero.

You could show some more affection toward your son you know Mr. Grizzled Old Man Archetype. I’m sure that would make things better come the inevitable existential crisis of fighting death and literally seeing his sister get taken into her army.

Since you know, we’ve seen that it’s coming in the opening cutscene.

Just saying.


For now that’s all we’ve got in the Book III story. Everything is obviously a bit rough around the edges as we only have the earliest exposition set out before us.

However, not counting ridiculous things like the developers spoiling Eir’s possible double-cross later, there were a few good surprises just in the first two chapters. Connecting Hel’s generals to the history of the game’s two main nations in particular makes me interested to see more.

But with all that said, this post is extra long considering I had to sum up two chapter’s worth of story. So I’m going to leave everything to all of you here:

What do you think of the Book III story thus far? Where do you think it’s going to go? Where do you want it to go? How should we boycott the game if the Book II characters never show up again?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below! I, for one, am looking forward to getting some of that Fire Emblem Heroes fix in again.

A Feh Channel to die for

A Feh Channel to die for

When the Fire and Ice banner was released in Fire Emblem Heroes, we got our first good look at the story being established for Book III through its Xenologue, in which a figure called Hel — ruler of the underworld — stole the immense power of the recently deceased Múspell tyrant Surtr.

Today’s Feh Channel finally gave us the skinny on everything we can expect to see coming out of Heroes in the near future.

Just when I thought I was out… They pull me back in.

The video began with an introductory cinematic for the next chapter in this ever-evolving story.

Overall, I would argue I actually liked the Book II cinematic better. The instant I saw Laevateinn, Loki and Surtr for the first time I was hooked. I needed to know more about who they were, especially as the Order of Heroes paired off to fight them.

With the Book III characters, I’m honestly more intrigued in them from an aesthetic perspective than a personality perspective.

Hel, as well as the two generals she has working under her, all have a macabre Victorian-era look that’s pretty great. Everything about the land of the dead shown off here gives more of an old English look than the Norse-inspired fantasy worlds of Book II.

In spite of the fact that Hel is the goddess of death in Norse mythology as well.

The sudden shift into an 1800s look, combined with the gothic, ethereal living dead designs is pretty sweet.

Once the video ends, we cut back to the Order’s castle where Feh jumps into expository mode that clashes wildly against the darker tone Intelligent Systems tried to convey with heavy metal and Sharena’s apparent death.

Feh introduces us to the four new characters that we saw in the video:


Hel

img_1596
Death Sovereign

Pretty much just a sexy skeleton lady. Someone certainly made a design choice here.

Don’t get me wrong she’s cool, and the general skeletal look + scythe combo definitely screams death. It’s just kind of silly to me that we’ve transitioned from big, imposing fire tyrant to sexy bone lady.


Eir

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Merciful Death

The princess of the realm of the dead, daughter of Hel. Seems to not enjoy her royal status considering she is confirmed to be the free five-star hero we’ll get upon completing Book III, Chapter 1. Rides a dope ass death Pegasus into battle and I’m INTO it.


Thrasir

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Omnicidal Witch

Now Thrasir I like. Invoking omnicide in her epithet, as in all-encompassing genocide, is pretty metal. She looks cool, powerful and deadly.

Out of all the new characters, I think I’ll enjoy seeing where her story goes the most.


Líf

img_1599
Lethal Swordsman

I’m somewhat bothered by the fact that we’re introducing a new character whose name can be easily confused with the already existing Prince Leif, but hey. Spooky mask skeleton knight.

It’s hard not to appreciate that, even if it is the most cliché “cool” villain archetype I can possibly imagine.


As we hear from Feh in the video: “The Askran Kingdom was just getting used to peace, but now it’s being invaded by forces from Hel.”

Beyond the fact that the quote sounds hilarious in Feh’s voice, an allusion to a time skip is the only thing I’m hesitant about regarding Book III.

If we really do skip ahead some time, it might feel disjointed. How long did Hel wait to use Surtr’s powers? Will the Nifl and Múspell characters play any kind of role or just get tossed aside? How will Loki fit in after going around Nohr and Hoshido messing with Azura and Anankos?

Yeah I paid attention Intelligent Systems. These plot points better fit together.

After touching on the generalities of the story, Feh briefly discuss some new things we’re going to get in the 3.0.0 update. Included are:

  • Four new blessings: Light, Dark, Astra and Anima. Obviously based on the Trinity of Magic from games like Sacred Stones, so I’m immediately attached.
  • A “new” kind of unit called a Mythic Hero. Essentially just Legendary Heroes for the Trinity blessings.
    • Eir will be the first light Mythic Hero, similar to how Fjorm was the first Legendary Hero who joined the Order for story reasons.
  • A Hero Fest that features Owain, Ophelia, Lewyn and Eir. A strange collection… Probably not one I’ll spend too many orbs on.
  • A new item called “First Summon Tickets,” essentially allowing us to replicate the effects of the new banner free first summon whenever we want. I appreciate that this is supplemental and not replacing the usual free summon. Though the fact that they last for one banner only kind of sucks.
  • Beast units are coming! The first will be Tibarn, a hawk guy from Radiant Dawn (who I have no connection to), but hopefully that means we’ll get characters like Kaden and Yarne soon enough.


With that, the party’s over for now. This is all the information Feh was willing to give us for the time being.

Luckily we’ll only have to wait until tonight to find out more!

So until I write all about the first two story chapters tomorrow, let me know what you think about this spookier, serious direction Fire Emblem Heroes seems to be going in.

Or, more importantly, let me know what you think about beast units finally coming. Boy that’s something we’ve been waiting on for years now.


If you want to see part 2 on the story of Book III chapters 1 and 2, take a look here!

A smashing blast to the past

A smashing blast to the past

Gotta love tentpole programming.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is officially out today! Even though I haven’t personally gotten my hands on it just yet, by all accounts it promises to be a fantastic collection of all the greatest parts of the series’ 19-year history.

I’m excited to get my hands on this sucker, because I’ve been a pretty hardcore fan of Masahiro Sakurai’s wonderful party fighter games since Melee on the GameCube.

Melee was quite literally a game that defined my young childhood, with many birthday parties spent playing as Young Link on the “Great Bay” stage from Majora’s Mask (many years before I actually played its game of origin).

Brawl was the game that offered my core friend group, from middle school on, to duke it out, find our main characters and test our creativity building our own fields of combat.

Smash 4 brings with it memories of being so excited that I played the demo endlessly during art class in senior year, time that left me proficient in newcomer Mega Man as much as I would be proficient in Lucina — my current main character, passed along from Marth before her.

Yet the fourth entry in the series became so much more. Long nights in the Daily Titan newsroom were more manageable after my boi Aaron Valdez brought his Wii U and we held DT tournaments.

Hell I even have some fond memories of the original Smash Bros., despite the fact that I never owned a Nintendo 64. I distinctly remember going to an animation camp while visiting my grandparents in Florida one summer, and a major highlight of the camp was getting there early to play on some of the consoles available in their waiting room.

My attachment to the series went far deeper than just playing the games with my friends, however.

When Stephen Hillenberg died a few weeks ago, writing my blog obituary for him brought back a lot of memories. One of the most potent memories was attending a sprite animation camp (here in California) over a summer with my friend Mitchell Winn from all the way back in elementary school.

Thanks to that camp, I learned a good many things about grabbing sprites from my favorite games off of The Spriters Resource and using them in different projects.

I took on ambitious sprite projects in the months and years to follow. Including recreating that famous Band Geeks halftime scene from Spongebob with video game characters.

One other project that felt pertinent to today required going back into my old desktop Mac.

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IMG_1554

This dinosaur literally hasn’t been touched since 2012 based on the security update. Thus it has become a crystalized time capsule for 15-year-old Jason.

I had so much fun going through this thing that I’m going to talk more about my discoveries later this weekend.

But for now, the important connection back to Smash Bros. were these desktop wallpapers I made using character sprites from various games and other fan projects:

SSBB Battle Subcon Stage2
The Featured Image, a classic fight between Link, Charizard (sans Pokémon trainer as this was the Brawl era), Kirby and Marth on “Mushroom Kingdom II.”
SSBB Battle Battlefield Stage
Four hatted-Kirby duke it out on Melee’s “Battlefield.”
SSBB Battle Yoshi Stage
Pikachu, Yoshi, Marth and Falco fight on “Yoshi’s Island,” where Marth shows off his Dolphin Slash. A favorite move of mine, clearly.
SSBB Battle Mario Stage
The Mario Bros. take on Link and Sonic on the aptly named “Mario Bros.” stage.
SSBB Battle Final Stage
A slightly askew duel between Samus, Fox, Zelda and a very tiny Captain Falcon on Brawl’s version of “Final Destination.”
SSBB Battle Onett Stage
One of my prouder pieces from what I remember, in which Ness knocks Kirby out of the park in his home turf of “Onett.”
SSBB Battle Mario Stage2
We return to “Mario Bros.” so the Bros. can confront a series of variant Sonics each colored after Chaos Emeralds. Not sure if these are the classic Chaos Emerald colors, but the different poses are sweet if you ask me.
SSBB Battle Temple Scene
It’s a race for the Master Sword between Link and Young Link (clearly set during the Melee era) on the leftmost side of the “Temple” battleground.
SSBB Battle Subcon Stage
Apparently I predicted Smash Ultimate being a thing years ago by pitting the (at the time) Melee-exclusive Mewtwo and Brawl-exclusive Snake on “Mushroom Kingdom II.”

Would have helped if I made them all the same size so they didn’t get stretched out when I rotated them as wallpapers. But hey, eight years ago.

All of these babies were created between May and June of 2010 using Graphic Converter, as I never learned Photoshop or anything.

2010! I know I spent all this time building up 15-year-old Jason, but these specifically are all a product of 13-year-old Jason’s ingenuity.

Now that Smash Ultimate is out, I’m hoping to get my hands on it soon so I can start to make some new memories with that game. Perhaps a few of them will come somewhere remotely close to leaving an impression as strong as the older titles.

Here’s to everyone having a happy Smash Ultimate day!

Burnout

I’m sure a small number of you out there read the title of this blog post and got very excited that I was finally going to talk about the hit series of demolition racing games that have (apparently) been released on just about every console since 2001.

Well… I’m not going to. Right now anyway.

I do actually have some fond memories of playing Burnout games on the PlayStation 2 with my dad that I could probably talk about some day.

That’s just not my plan for right now.

No, instead I just wanted to briefly touch on a more depressing, real-world form of burnout: School burnout.

The end of this semester is kind of killing me with stress right now, guys.

We only have two weeks of regular classes left at this point, and after that there are three days worth of final exams I’ll have to take. So we’re hitting the last stretch of fall 2018.

That means all of my teachers are stepping up their games with a number of incoming deadlines and attempts to squeeze in as much information as possible in a short amount of time.

Obviously this post is just here for me to vent on everything I have going on that’s contributing to stress, so let’s lay it all out.

  • In the next week or so I have two major papers due, as well as a couple of smaller two-page papers to write.
    • One of those major papers is almost done, but the other one I haven’t really started on… Yikes.
  • At least one more quiz tomorrow in my Sensation and Perception class, though probably another one coming next week if I’m being honest.
    • By the way, last week the professor of that class introduced at least six more lecture PowerPoints online to fit into only four more lecture sessions AND let us know his cumulative final will not be curved — nice guy.
  • Whatever other homework I need to get done that will be assigned in the next two weeks.
  • Three exam finals, one of which being a cumulative test as I mentioned, as well as a fourth exam that’s a case study analysis for my Mass Media Ethics class.

But let’s not forget about all the other responsibilities I have lining up!

  • I’ve scheduled out at least three interviews for Gladeo in the near future to focus work on.
  • A potential sit-down with a family friend about a new potential job opportunity that I could take on. Not yet scheduled.
  • My friend Tiana wants me to help her edit another one of her papers, which I’m more than happy to do but don’t know if I have the cycles free — and the thought of turning her down due to time management almost stresses me out as much as adding helping her onto my workload…
  • Wanting to fit in continual trips to the gym into my schedule so I don’t fall off that commitment, especially after moving boxes the other day made me feel less confident about the progress I’ve made thus far.
  • Trying to keep up writing a blog post a day.
    • Yeah this blog does stress me out, in a similar way to going to the gym. It has become an obligation for me that I feel terrible about skipping, especially after things like my dad complimenting my commitment to writing during lunch with a family friend yesterday.
  • Just generally thinking about girls and wanting a relationship but feeling like I don’t know if I have the time to commit to one (more of a deeply personal grievance).
  • Plus a couple new video games I own thanks to Hanukkah that I have not gotten the chance to start yet.
    • Probably the lowest rung on my priority list, but it’s there.

Like I said, I actually feel really bad when I have to miss writing something. Yesterday I was simply too buried in a small mountain of homework to get around to writing anything, unfortunately.

So I wanted to write something up today for the ten of you or so who read this stuff regularly. Even if it just amounted to me barfing up all the obligations that are stressing me out for the next couple weeks.

If I’m going anywhere with this post besides making it a ventilation system for my stress, I suppose the through line is my asking for forgiveness ahead of time if I don’t get to writing as often over the next couple weeks.

… Though knowing the way my brain works, I’ll wind up writing a lot here anyway in place of taking extra time to study. Because it’s a decent stress reliever and my priorities are weird.

Also because I love you all. Especially when you stick with me for things like this.

International Entertainment

It’s never a bad day when you get home at 3:00 p.m. Especially when there’s enough of an endorphin rush from getting a solid grade on that Sensation and Perception research paper rough draft to counteract the dejection of finding out thefinal exam won’t be curved like the midterms were.

I’m not at all bitter about being told about it just two weeks before the exam.

You can tell by the way I definitely did not start this post off with a paragraph-long rant.

But hey that being said, at least I got home early right? Which means I had plenty of extra time to get started on my homework for the weekend.

Ahaha, haha, ha.

Haha.

Hah…

Yeah no, I just watched YouTube all afternoon.

Don’t give me that look, viewing public. It was a long week, okay? I just wanted to go home and veg out a little.

Oh boy, here I am arguing with the empty void that I’m pretending is a robust audience.

Let’s just stop filling in empty space on this post and get to the point.

When I talked about the somewhat bizarre international reach of my blog the other day, I didn’t realize it would make me get all deeply philosophical and thoughtful about other stuff I’ve been observing.

For instance, the YouTube videos I’ve been watching.

Yeah that’s right this is another recommending YouTube channels post. Don’t pretend like you didn’t see that coming.

Even if this is a makeshift post thanks to events I had planned getting cancelled, it is based on something I was thinking about in the shower this morning.

See I recently discovered a new video game reviewing YouTuber who has sent me down the rabbit hole of binging every old video out of sheer love for the great new entertainment.

His name is RadicalSoda, and for the most part he does a lot of Sonic-related stuff from what I’ve seen. But also his Kingdom Hearts 2 and bad Pixar PS2 games videos have stood out to me.

The reason why he’s relevant in the conversation I set up for myself is because a few videos in I found out that my new favorite long-haired dudebro is from New Zealand.

Land of the Hobbit and… Usurping old Zealanders. I guess.

I don’t know anything about New Zealand.

But that’s kind of the point! I know literally nothing about New Zealand, yet thanks to the magic of an open content creation platform like YouTube I’m able to see his creative energy and sense of humor come to life.

It’s kind of awesome to imagine, and I’m not sure I would have thought about it too much if I wasn’t already primed by seeing my own blog’s analytics.

Naturally I couldn’t help but think about other YouTube personalities I watch who aren’t based in the United States, because this would have been a very boring post if it was just lots of rambling only to have one recommendation at the end.

So I have other recommendations. For instance, Caddicarus is a channel I’ve been following for some time that’s based in England and also does video game-related content more often than not.

In a similar vein I’ve gotten very into watching another British YouTuber, I Hate Everything. He has a massive backlog of interesting videos just talking about dumb things in general or talking about dumb movies specifically.

His channel also got me introduced to Ralphthemoviemaker, who also does some fantastic movie reviews… But he’s in the U.S. so I’m not counting that right now.

The only other big international name I can think off the top of my head is RANK10YGO, but he’s arguably the most niche suggestion I can offer to a general audience.

All he does is Yu-Gi-Oh! videos. Specifically informational videos about different card archetypes in the game.

Which are fantastic if you want to find out more about the game like I did after getting real into Duel Links. But I imagine it isn’t for everything.

Unless you happen to like somewhat deadpan, meme-ridden humor. In which case he’s your man!

Also he’s apparently from Montenegro. Just in case you were wondering why he fit into this whole international shindig.

So yeah, there’s a bunch of (mostly) international YouTube suggestions that you can check out if you’re interested. For me it’s a pretty great reminder that the Internet isn’t just a cesspool of dumb crap.

It’s a place where people from literally all over the world can share their creativity for even random Joe’s like me to see.

Even if their creativity is just dumb crap, it’s still pretty awesome to think about.

If you have any international content creators you want to recommend, I’d be happy to hear all about them!

Cool runnings in Nifl’s past

Cool runnings in Nifl’s past

With the addition of our newest Legendary Hero Hríd, the sole Prince of Nifl, we finally have every Book II character released as a playable unit in Fire Emblem Heroes.

Just in time for Book III to start in December. It’s almost like Intelligent Systems planned this stuff out!

But did they plan out Hríd well?


HrídIcy Blade

  • Gjöll (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Grants Attack +3. If a penalty inflicted by a skill like Panic or Threaten, and/or a negative status effect (preventing counterattacks or restricting movement) is active on foe, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack and foe cannot.
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Distant Counter (A Skill)
    • Unit can counterattack regardless of foe’s range.
  • Freezing Seal (B Skill)
    • At the start of a turn, if unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent, inflicts Attack/Speed -6 on foe with the lowest Resistance through its next action.
  • Attack Smoke (C Skill)
    • Inflicts Attack -7 on foes within two spaces of target through their next actions after combat.

From a purely conceptual standpoint, I actually really like the idea behind Hríd’s base skill kit. His B skill weakens the strongest enemy on the opposing team so that he can race in on his horse and slay them with the guaranteed follow-up of his sword.

On top of that he has defensive capabilities thanks to Distant Counter, which balances things out.

Overall it’s a really solid set of capabilities, and if nothing else it’s great to have a new unit with Distant Counter given how rare the ability is.

To be completely honest my only real problem with Hríd is the fact that… Well…

We literally just had a sword cavalier as a Legendary Hero with Eirika.

Come on Intelligent Systems, at least separate out the weapon/move type combinations a little better. Maybe make Hríd a sword armor unit or something, that way we can have a power crept Black Knight as a Legendary Hero.

I don’t know , the quick repetition bugs me. But even so I don’t mind the character himself.

On top of that, his entourage in the special Legendary Hero banner isn’t so bad:

Red and green hold the most interest for me this time around. Hríd, Legendary Ryoma, Summer Innes and Kana are all not in my current arsenal, and thus all worth summoning.

In the other two colors the only character I’m missing is Brave Hector.

I do want Brave Hector, but I’m not sure he’s worth potentially getting another Legendary Lucina or Summer Cordelia.

Also can we hold an intervention for Intelligent Systems to not include female Grima in any more of these banners? I’m pretty sure she’s been in every single one.

There better be some cool story thing that comes out of that eventually.

While I started with about 200 orbs once again, it took me 50 or so to get something of particular interest to me:

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All the animosity I stored toward the Legendary Lobster since his first appearance when he took all my orbs and never showed up has finally been relieved.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be the same still… But he’s +Attack, -Resistance. Which I think is his best build.

So hey I guess I can’t really complain.

I’ve also gotten a second Laevatein at this point, but she’s not very good compared to the one I had already.

I don’t know whether I’ll spend a lot more orbs on this banner unless I get a bunch in the near future. At this point there aren’t enough units left to justify it.

But at least there are Legendary Battle Maps to score some extra orbs, right?

Nailed the transition.


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While most of the Legendary Battle Maps have been cool examples of a stage from the character’s original game, I particularly appreciate what they did for Hríd.

His map appears to be the Rite of Frost chamber from Heroes’ main story, seen back when Kinshi Hinoka first came out, but frozen over more than ever. It’s a nice touch for people who have been sticking with this game for a long time.

As far as the difficulty goes? I mean it’s the same old reinforcement map bs as always. Not very fun in my opinion.

What is more fun to discuss is the Forging Bonds that coincides with Hríd’s addition featuring the four Nifl siblings:

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I haven’t gotten very far into any of the support conversation threads, but what I have seen has been so different than usual that it’s pretty engaging.

The overall theme of the event is a prequel of sorts. The story starts off prior to Surtr’s invasion right around the time when Gunnthrá apparently has a premonition that he will be coming soon.

Group sections seem to focus on the siblings preparing together (a somber twist considering how the story goes) while the individual conversations each have the siblings meeting you in their dreams.

Again I don’t know where they wind up going just yet, but I’m very excited to see!


I’m going to level with you guys, I thought I was going to end this off early tonight and go to bed.

Then I got distracted with some videos online and somehow it turned into 2:00 a.m.

So I’m not going to put a lot of fanfare into this conclusion. Just let me know what you think of Hríd, what you want to see in the future, all that fun stuff.

That said, I’ll see you in the next FEH post where I’ll hopefully be more awake.

He was #1

He was #1

Sometimes you really don’t think about how much of an impact a person has had in your life until you see that name pop up on an obituary.

That happened for me when I saw that Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants, passed away from ALS complications at 57 today.

Spongebob hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind for a number of years now. If anything I’ve grown to be more resentful and dismissive of the Nickelodeon classic the longer it lives in prime time, because I’m one of those snobs that loves to go on about how the old episodes were great and the new stuff is trash.

Which is objectively true. But I digress.

Just because the modern run of the show isn’t fantastic doesn’t mean the blockbuster of a series didn’t become a classic for nothing.

Almost immediately after Spongebob aired in 1999 (almost 20 years ago — yikes), he became the face of Nickelodeon. Anyone who watched the network at any point in the early aughts would recognize the yellow sponge in everything.

The show has been nominated for and won over 100 awards in its runtime according to imdb, and I would say it’s hard to find a more recognizable voice talent than Tom Kenny in the field of animation.

That sponge is everywhere in our pop culture landscape. Hell they even referenced Squidward in Avengers Infinity War.

We have Stephen Hillenburg to thank for that entry, as well as others like Rocko’s Modern Life.

As usual Variety has a pretty nice article summarizing his overall impact and past far better than I could.

My contribution comes a little more easily from talking about how much Spongebob became an ever-present part of my life without my even realizing it.

Like I mentioned, the older episodes are absolute classics in my mind. Almost word-for-word I could recite the plots that I watched repeatedly on weekend mornings.

The one where Squidward travels through time.

The magic conch shell.

The Mr. Krabs robot.

Long, tan and handsome.

The Alaskan bull worm.

The hash slinging slasher.

The imagination box.

Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen (he was #1).

And of course, my personal favorite episode: Band Geeks.

There are honestly too many to count. Almost all of them, interestingly enough, seemed to involve a number of the most famous Spongebob moments that became memes as the internet grew.

So many memes stemmed out of Spongebob episodes, it honestly feels like one crops up whenever another dies. Those kind of moments have become jokes and references that my friends still pass around to this day.

Slight topic shift. At one point in my life I tried my hands at doing sprite animation. Even went to a summer camp to learn more about the subject with my old friend Mitchell Winn.

One of the first projects I tried was recreating the football halftime scene at the end of Band Geeks using video game sprites.

That scene was so iconic to me that I wanted to capture even a glimmer of its majesty in a medium I’d almost never done anything with before. The project never went very far, but I distinctly recall using the Spriter’s Resource to cast Mario from Superstar Saga as a drummer using a drum set from the Scribblenauts series.

That’s how much of an impact the show had on me.

Just thinking about Spongebob drudged up that old part of me, which also helped me remember the Smash Bros.-themed desktop wallpapers I created.

I’ll have to see if I can find those to show them off, but that’s a post for another day.

I also couldn’t help but think about the Nicktoons Unite game I played on the DS back in the day, namely because it was the Spongebob level I could never beat.

Funnily enough when I tried to look for that game in my collection, all I was able to find were these two Spongebob games that I don’t even remember owning!

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This stupid little sponge was literally everywhere in my life. Seriously.

The day that I’m writing this, Nov. 27, is Giving Tuesday.

Originally I was going to write something promoting the Gladeo donation campaign, but in honor of Stephen Hillenburg I think it would only be right to point out some ALS charities for everyone to donate to.

Unfortunately I don’t know who’s reputable and who isn’t, so I’m going to default to the ALS Association. Go support them in honor of that iconic character living in a pineapple under the sea.

With all that said and done, I can’t think of a better send off for Stephen than this tweet.

Yet another man with a legacy that will live decades beyond his far too early passing. Rest in peace.


Featured Image courtesy of Carlos Cazurro via Wikimedia Commons

Deltarune is delightful

Deltarune is delightful

I’m a few weeks late to this particular craze, but after staying up until 2:00 a.m. finally finishing the first chapter of Deltarune I have an unbridled desire to gush about everything.

That’s probably going to involve a number of spoilers for an experience that I truly believe everyone should have for themselves. Because of that I’ll aim to be as vague as possible, but even so you might not want to read this quite yet if you haven’t played the game yourself.

Here’s what I can offer as a general teaser introduction.

Deltarune is the follow-up to indie game developer and chip tune musical genius Tobyfox‘s now-famed 2015 RPG Undertale — That one where nobody has to die. It’s available on just about every gaming platform imaginable, so if you haven’t dived into this universe at all you should.

The newest game, released just a few weeks ago, takes a somewhat different spin on the kill-or-spare game mecahnic from Undertale. It allows you to follow Kris, a human living in a world of monsters, as he deals with the day-to-day trials and tribulations of school.

Until certain events leave him and the local bully, Susie, taking on an adventure to save the world.

I know that’s pretty vague and somewhat derivative, but it’s nowhere near as dull as I made it sound.

Please just play the game if you haven’t.

Trust me when I say it’s all worth experiencing as blindly as possible. As a result, the rest of my discussion is going to go on under the spoiler-laden read more line here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed me rambling in vague generalities if this is as far as you’ll go. Just come back and  let me know when you’ve gone through the experience for yourself!

Continue reading “Deltarune is delightful”

Fire and Ice and Everything Nice

Fire and Ice and Everything Nice

After the last Heroes summoning banner left me feeling so burned, I’m glad we finally have a new one that’s pretty cool to make me throw my orbs against the wall again.

Get it? Burned? Cool?

Because it’s the Fire and Ice banner?

Here let me explain the joke, then it’ll definitely be funnier that way.


YlgrFresh Snowfall

  • Sylgr (Might = 14, Range = 2)
    • Grants Speed +3. At start of combat, if unit’s Speed > foe’s Speed, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Glimmer (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent.
  • Sorcery Blade (A Skill)
    • At start of combat, if unit is adjacent to a magic ally, calculates damage using the lower of foe’s Defense or Resistance.
  • Chill Speed (B Skill)
    • At start of turn, inflicts Speed -7 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Speed through its next action.
  • Speed Tactic (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, grants Speed +6 to allies within two spaces for one turn. Granted only if number of ally’s movement type on current team ≤ 2.

SurtrRuler of Flame

  • Sinmara (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Grants Defense +3. At start of turn, deals 20 damage to foes within two spaces.
  • Bonfire (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Defense.
  • Steady Stance (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Defense +8 during combat and inflicts Special Attack cooldown charge -1 on foe per attack (only highest value applied, does not stack).
  • Wary Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent, unit and foe cannot make a follow-up attack.
  • Surtr’s Menace (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, if unit is within two spaces of a foe, grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +4 for one turn and inflicts Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance -4 on foes within two spaces through their next actions.

I think this is the first time in the history of Fire Emblem Heroes that we’ve had only two new characters on a banner. The acuteness is intriguing from a historic perspective, but also because it’s that much easier for me to talk about them both together!

First we have Nilf’s youngest royal sibling, Ylgr. Her natural skill set seems to fit well with her character.

Given the girl’s small stature, this makes sense that she’s focused primarily on speed.

Her unique colored dagger, Chill Speed and Speed Tactic all focus on debuffing an opponent’s speed and incurring buffs when she’s faster. She’ll be a perfect candidate for the Flashing Blade Sacred Seal, that way she’ll gain stat buffs and a Special Cooldown charge.

The only strange thing about Ylgr is her unique A Skill, which lets her hit the opponent’s weaker defense stat if she’s with a mage. Seems somewhat impractical?

Perhaps they want us to run her alongside her sister Gunnthrá, who also works on lowering Speed.

King Surtr has skills equally fitting his stature in that he’s large, imposing and overwhelms his enemies. Everyone within two spaces of the guy takes 20 damage and loses 4 points in each stat EVERY turn. It’s kind of nuts, especially considering he gains +4 to each stat at the same time.

That’s like a natural +8. To Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance.

Arguably Surtr’s only problem is that he would be far better with Distant Counter so he could hit everyone within two spaces that are debuffed. Plus… There are a ton of Distant Counter green armored units that fill his niche.

However, both units are pretty cool. Worth summoning I’d say!

Though, even if I’ve accumulated a small fortune of ~240 orbs in my silent protest against the Adrift banner, I don’t want to spend them all on these two. I’ll keep everything above 200 at least, just in case something better comes around soon.

I really haven’t pulled anything of note just yet. Mainly some fodder for skills to inherit later.

Thus I keep working on orb accumulation. Luckily there’s a whole bunch of extra orbs in story and special maps this time around!


For the first time in a long time, we have a Xenologue. Essentially a continuation of the main story, but framed as a short bridge between the end of Book II and Book III.

Oh, and by short I mean just one map with a bit of dialogue.

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The scene opens with Surtr waking up following his death by the hands of the Order of Heroes. He receives word from a mysterious new figure that his powers will posthumously taken on by them. Only for him to be told that they are:

Apparently, Hel assumes that one such group unworthy of a greater reward is… Well…

Yeah. Us.

Soon after the reveal of the next Book’s villain, the Order encounters Loki who talks about how she’s after Hel in some capacity. She wants the power on her side, or some such deal.

Plus she allude to Sharena being important in the next Book’s story, which is nice considering Alfonse wound up having the spotlight in Book II.

That’s essentially that, however. I consider this Xenologue a simple ‘come back in December for more’ tidbit that gave us nine extra orbs.

But wait, there’s more!

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Yes we’ve got three separate special maps based on the Book II characters. They don’t have any extra dialogue or anything, just an additional four orbs each.

If I were a suspicious man, I would think Intelligent Systems is fattening us up so we’ll be ready for some big banners coming soon.

But when have I ever ben a suspicious man? Haha.

Ha.


Anyway, that’s all we’ve got for the day! A quick two units, a quick Xenologue.

Simple and clean.

I think I’m going to take the cue and leave things with a sparse conclusion. Let me know what you think of these new units, and what you’re expecting out of the upcoming Book III!

It’s certainly going to be exciting to cover, if you ask me.